On Wednesday, a Staten Island grand jury cleared another white officer in the death of an unarmed black man. In July, officer Daniel Pantaleo, 29, attempted to arrest Eric Garner, 43 for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, by putting him in a chokehold. A move Pantaleo describes as a takedown maneuver, but unfortunately that move ended Garner’s life.
This decision came one week after a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict another white Officer, Darren Wilson, for killing an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, in August.
People are upset, hurt, confused and are taking their frustrations to the streets in protest. Hundreds of people flooded New York City in Time Square chanting, “I can’t breathe!” and “Hands up, don’t choke!”, when the decision was released.
Pantaleo has been on the force for 8 years and testified to the grand jury that he never intended to kill Garner. He also issued a public apology to the Garner family and offers his condolences.
He stated, “I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves, it is never my intention to harm anyone, and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner.”
Mrs. Garner’s wife does not accept his apology as you see in the video below.
With clear video evidence of the attempted arrest of Garner – ending with him losing his life, his family (& nation) doesn’t understand how a jury could not agree to convict Pantaleo. Instead of agreeing that too much force was used, they said Garner’s (who also had asthma) health played a part in his own death. Even the medical examiner ruled Garner’s death was a homicide and agreed that the chokehold contributed to it.
Shortly after the decision, supporters of Garner scattered cigarettes on the ground and lit candles.
I think as a people, we are wondering what do we do now? What are the next steps to get white people to understand how we feel? What are the next steps to make a difference in the way police treat minorities? Are they going to be retrained? Do we need to train our children how to respond to police? What do you tell your children when you initially teach them that police are there to help them, but all they see in the news is the damage being done and officers not being held accountable.
BMWK, What do you think is the next step for us as African Americans or Minorities?